Living beyond Sunday

I spent a good enough portion of my life in this perpetual merry-go-round of faith. I would go to church on Sunday and have this amazing experience in worship. I sang all the songs, I cried, laughed and left feeling inspired and encouraged by the word. I wouldn't pull out of the parking lot sometimes before that euphoric spiritual high settled and I was back to getting road rage on the way home, texting a boyfriend to come over and fool around or talking badly behind a friend's back. What happened? I went from being on top of the world to going back to many of the habits I was repenting for that very Sunday. After years of this behavior I subconsciously began to place little value on God and the church experience. I believed that church didn't matter because I was not changed; furthermore God always forgives so there was no need to change.

Looking back I didn't understand how to apply my Sunday experience to my everyday life. I knew that God wanted more from my life but I didn't know how to make that happened. My everyday life and Sunday seemed so disconnected.  Now that I have grown in faith and I wanted to share how to worship God during the rest of the week.

1)      Study the scripture from Sunday's message. Studying the Bible can be daunting however, a simple way to get started is by studying the scriptures referenced in Sunday's message. I used to take notes and never look at it again, but now I look through my notes throughout the week and reflect on the scriptures mentioned. You may gain a whole new perspective on what was being discussed, additionally most Bibles will show a cross reference scripture. You can study the context in which the scripture was written, what was going on during that time and who the author was -the possibilities are endless. Studying what was discussed gives you greater revelation and allows you to be closer in line to the heart of what your Pastor/leader is trying to impart on your local body of Christ.

2)      Carve out daily praise and worship time with God. I can be at home getting ready for work, having a quiet moment after dinner or in my car; but I daily have this moment of praise toward God. I typically will put on music and sing out loud, worshiping the same as I would do on a Sunday. This practice has become a habit and it has shown me that church is much bigger than a building it is a mindset. That we are always connected to Jesus he is always there and when we take that time to praise him he fills our hearts with so much joy. This time you carve out doesn't have to be perfect or for a set amount of time God will honor your endeavor to find the time.

3)      Living a mission minded life. We often think of mission work as some far removed ministry that happens overseas and has nothing to do with our daily lives. However, you can “do missions” right where you live. One of the biggest eye opening things I learned on a recent mission trip to India that mission work was as simple as every day conversations. I believe that God has placed so many people around us who need to hear the gospel, who are lost and depressed, who could use encouragement and support and the list goes on. Open up your heart and your eyes to these needs. The more you steward the needs of those God has placed in your path the more he will increase your territory.

4)      Stop putting your leader on a pedestal. For many years I looked up to the leadership in the various churches I attended and thought: “They are so holy, I could never be like that.” Maybe you aren't as negative, but the point is I put them in this whole new realm of humanity in my mind; I distanced that person's character from everyday life. I didn't realize that these leaders struggle just as I do, they have challenges and must make choices every day. I realized that the same grace that gave my leaders spiritual eloquence and fortitude was available to me. I began to recognize the humanity of these people and that their lives were a result of God’s grace.

5)      God is concerned with every aspect of your life. I used to think that God just cared how I was in church and how good I was to the outside. However, through study I began to realize that He was concerned with every aspect of my life, I couldn't just give him a corner and say “work with that” I had to give it all to him. That mindset helped me acknowledge God when I brushed my teeth, while I was exercising or making dinner; his will for my life became entrenched in the details. Living like this creates no room for separation between you and God. You will create this on-going dialogue throughout the day with God that will sustain you and guide your actions.

 I pray that these points encourage someone who is trying to apply the word on Sunday to their everyday life. Get determined about living a life where your spiritual tank is not on E, and by the time Sunday rolls around you are spiritually dehydrated. Christ died so we can have this fullness of life – so take it!

Posted on March 16, 2015 and filed under Faith.

You Can’t Skip The Process

We all have dreams for our lives. Whether it is to work for a desired company, get married, have children or start our own business; we all know what it is like to desire something that we do not have. Our heart’s desires are placed there by God, for a reason and a purpose. When life doesn’t resemble our dreams that is when the true spiritual work begins.

It is very difficult in our society to balance this spiritual growth with cultural norms. Our culture believes we can achieve anything we want if we just work hard, meet the right people, have the right plans and get put in the right place. Those things encapsulate what is known as “our ability”. However, how do we fulfill a God given desire with the parameters of “our ability”? The answer is we don’t. See things like working hard, meeting the right people, having the right plans and being in the right place are all well and good but one thing we don’t realize is that God is not limited to our grind. God is not on our time schedule, He doesn’t work within in the rules of our society, He doesn’t not bless us according to the way we think we should be blessed. 

This is a hard pill to swallow if you are an A-typer like myself. I set goals, make plans, remain disciplined, network and then boom the goal is finished - I AM BLESSED #POW. Yes, I have a litany of different goal reaching things I have achieved in my life that were awesome and wonderful, but it is those deep seeded God given dreams that I find that can’t be reached with the same rationale. As I look over the course of my life the moments when God has turned up and blessed me in a way that I only knew was Him, were moments where I had to take a seat. They were moments where I had to remain faithful to the little that God had given me, not knowing how or when my prayer was going to get answered. I remember I was working at my current job in a clerical position which I was very over qualified for since I have an advanced degree. I struggled so much, with very little salary and just heartache because I couldn’t understand why God would have me there. I went on a bunch of job interviews and nothing was panning out. I was so unhappy, and I remember God saying so clearly to me that I needed to submit to the situation and be content. Within months of deciding to do my job with joy and stop worrying, a position opened up right in that very company where I would be leading the entire organization- and I got it! At the time I couldn’t see the complete picture of what God was doing but I am thankful that I trusted His guidance and allowed Him to prepare me for what was to come.

As excited as I was to see God work this way in my life, I still struggle with waiting on God to manifest my dreams. It is easy in the throws of everyday life to get discouraged, to want to go out ahead of God, or to be bitter and unmotivated until it happens. However, we can’t get mad at what we can’t control and furthermore God has entrusted us with something right now we need to be faithful in. If you are looking for a promotion as a boss be an excellent employee; if you are looking for your dream home make your apartment a sanctuary; if your desire is for children why not give selflessly to children who are in need or don’t have a home; if you dream of having a big ministry why not be faithful in the aspects of that ministry God gives you everyday; if you are looking to get married why not hang out with some lonely people to bring them joy … There are so many opportunities God puts around us to prepare us for what is in our hearts. If we focused on what we CAN do and give God what we CAN’T we will remain fulfilled. We won’t have to compare, get mad or lose our joy when things don’t go our way because our dreams are not in our hands they are in His. 

This reminds me of Joseph in Genesis chapter 37. From the time Joseph was sold into slavery at 17 (Genesis 37:2) to the time he was appointed at age 30 by Pharaoh to be second in command over all of Egypt (Genesis 41:1) was a total of 13 years. Years he spent with an awesome gift in exile, being lied about and serving time in jail. All situations from the outside that looked dismal but to God looked like preparation. So don’t fret- be encouraged! Stop focusing on your circumstances or how far you are from your dream, place your dream in His loving hands and allow Him to work. 

How have you allowed God to take care of your dream? How are you remaining faithful in the task you have at hand? Share you story in the comments and encourage someone!

Posted on February 17, 2015 and filed under Faith.

Your Test is greater than your Triumph

My recent trip to Goa, India... 

My recent trip to Goa, India... 

In my young wisdom I would often tell people “Life is a test” having no real understanding of what that meant I just thought it sounded deep. “Life is a test” I would tell friends and family members hoping they wouldn’t question this concept any further. The more I have grown the  more this wisdom has become so real to me. It was as if in those earlier days I had prophesied my future understanding. The greater understanding I received; the more I sought to align my life with Jesus Christ; the more test were thrown my way; the greater I had to fight for my life through test and trials.

One of the reasons I love endurance sports like Ironman triathlon and marathon running is because you have to endure over many many hours. Yes you have moments where you are flying and you think you could go on forever, but then you experience these lows where you want to stop and you feel like you can’t  take another step - after all the work all the mental battles and physical trials you reach the glorious finish line and the testing seems like a distant memory to the glory you now stand in. This to me is a parallel to life. We are constantly in this state of pushing for the finish line as Paul writes in Philippians 3:14 “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

Our culture contradicts this entire train of thought. Someone is often touted as truly blessed when they get a new car, house or job promotion. Most of our breakthroughs are aligned with material possessions, commas in our bank account or changes in our status however scripture sings a different tune. Yes, God lavishes his children with material gifts and possessions but the truly blessed in scripture were the ones that had withstood the most testing. The spiritual titans that had undergone years of hardship and still believed, many were even martyred for their faith. 

What we fail to celebrate is the fact that testing and trials change us in ways no amount of physical riches ever can. Testing forges a new path in our hearts that leads us closer to our Father God. God loves us and is more concerned about how we triumph spiritually versus all the natural riches and possessions. He’d rather press pause on our blessings to see a change in our hearts.Testing is not glamours, we are not going to garner large audiences who are excited to learn how they can embrace the bad stuff that is going on in life. You can not market trials to the masses. No one says “I know you just went through that divorce but girl God birthed a faith in you that is unshakable.” 

I am reminded of Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. We don’t completely understand why God test us and tries us in the ways he does. The enemy even inclines us to curse God while we are going through. But if we just hold on to God through the trial and understand that our rough seasons are shaping us for future glory and know that we are truly blessed because of our undying faith - then we can have joy through the process. 

Jesus himself says God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs (Mathew 5:10). Please hold on. God sees you gripping tighter to him as you are having hell thrown your way - HE SEES YOU AND LOVES YOU. So while you feel like your faith is faltering, that you are not doing everything perfect God’s strength is made complete in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

How has God brought you through a test? What is something God birthed in you through a hard time in your life? Share your testimony below so others can be encouraged. If you are in need a prayer click here. 

Posted on January 29, 2015 and filed under Faith, My Blog.

Update: I am married to Ironman

It has been WAY too long! I miss writing and talking about all thing healthy living food, faith and fitness. It has been a really long 7 months of training in preparation for Ironman Lake Placid. The race is July 27th and I am less than 2 weeks away. As training volume has tapered off and my life has a few more hours I thought I would share some updates and just check in.

I started down the journey to becoming an Ironman in January. Thinking back to that time I was so energetic, bright eyed and bushy tailed! I was pumped. I am still am pumped but I am in much need of a rest. I want to become an Ironman because to finish 140.6 miles means that I had achieved the longest distance in triathlon, the hobby at which I affectionately adore. For years I marveled at people who had finished, it has always been a dream of mine since starting triathlons in 2010. Little did I know the commitment that was required. My life has been taken over by the sport, hence why I said I was “married”. I severely underestimated how much of a commitment it would be. I have sacrificed so much time with friends and family, from projects and work to train. When I am not training I am thinking about training,reading about training, preparing for workouts, buying gear or trying to sleep. As a follower of Christ is has been difficult to spend so much time thinking about my needs 24/7... I admit at times I feel guilty. I am at a point where I am so exhausted and I think my body is fatigue but, my heart is still strong! With less then 2 weeks left until the big day, I am very anxious and totally relieved that all this will soon be over.

Physically I have already exceeded my wildest dreams as far as what my body is capable of doing. I still can't believe how much I have swam, biked and run. Above the physical growth, my spirit has become strong and ready to endure. I have never taken this amount of time and dedicated it solely to one goal., I have this new understanding of what it truly takes to achieve anything huge.

After this long journey comes to an end at the Olympic Oval in Lake Placid, NY I will take an even bigger journey to Goa, India to work for 2 weeks with an organization called Rahab's Rope at preventing human trafficking. Through this training process I have raised funds to go toward this mission. The work that I am going will be the brightest spot in this whole process. To the outside it may look like I am going to India to help, with the funds raised and work I will do. However, I know the trip and being able to share the love of God with people thousands of miles around the globe is going to forever change my heart. It is going to be awesome to take the focus off of me and shine the light on others.

I have major things in store for Paparoxi and I cant wait to share with everyone in the coming months. If you would like to donate it is not too late my deadline is July 21st and you can donate HERE. Please keep me in your prayers! I face so many challenges in the coming weeks but I know it will all work out for God's glory. My Bib Number is 912 and you follow the coverage at on July 27th ,Thank you for continuing to follow and support!

TOP 5 Things I can't wait to do after Ironman:

  1. JUICE Feast – I miss it so much!

  2. Making plans with my loved ones during the weekends

  3. Staying up late and watching Netflix

  4. Working out without a schedule

  5. Sitting still :)

My Blog: "Tri-ing to Live"

So last July I had this crazy idea to actually pursue my dream of doing a full Ironman triathlon. That included a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run in one day under 17 hours.My thoughts: I am not getting any younger, I have stop putting my life of hold for things that “may” happen, I am having a milestone birthday this year. So at 12:03 PM the day after Lake Placid Ironman 2013 I decided to go online and register for the race. Little did I know me and thousands of other people tried doing the same thing, I refreshed my browser a million times and had some pretty stressful moments but at 12:17 PM I was officially registered for Ironman Lake Placid. 

I began my training in January and I am following Triathlon Geek’s ultra distance plan. I enjoy the plan because it gives you options for the intensity level of my workouts which is nice. I gleefully and naively began my training super pumped and cheery only to get a gut check after a month. I took for granted the fact that I have done races in the past and that the training in the past was hard but it was never too much. Full distance Ironman is no joke! This is taking my endurance to a whole new level and bringing me out of my endurance comfort zone. 

Training for this race has really consumed my life, everything is centered around my training, eating and sleeping schedule. I totally underestimated the commitment that it takes to train for this type of race. I have had several shots to my ego during training, a few can barely walk moments and more than enough “WHY DID I SIGN UP FOR THIS” moments but I wouldn't change a thing.

One of the biggest things I have learned since starting is what it truly takes to accomplish a goal. I know I am not at the finish line yet, but to get anything done in life you need to be focused. Yes you should have balance, but when you are on a mission and you see your goal in the horizon you have to put the pedal to the medal and get the work done. 

Secondly, I have learned how to be comfortable in my own skin. In my mind I have this perfect image of how a toned lean triathlete should look like and I had to throw that all away. Since starting I have actually gained weight, and my legs are getting bigger from all the biking. I prefer a certain look, but I had to go with the flow of training. I don’t have time to worry about slight movements in the scale I have to focus on proper nutrition and getting the training done. It has been difficult for me, I feel out of my comfort zone, but I keep seeing the goal in the horizon. 

Lastly, I needed something bigger then a personal achievement to push me through training. A few months ago I applied to a program that would allow me to go to India and work with a community devastated by the ills of human trafficking. I recently got accepted and I my heart is so full thinking about the people I am going to help by raising money and volunteering for this cause. On the days it is hard I think about all those women looking for a new life and how my little contribution can help. 

Well I just wanted to give a little update about me and my training. If you are interested in learning more about the cause and my trip to India please follow the link:

What is the biggest dream you have ever tried to reach? What have you learned through the process? What would you do differently? Share your thoughts and comments. 

My Blog: "I Hated Myself"


A few weeks ago I was leaving church and a woman comes up to me and says “I love your hair, I wish my husband would allow me to wear my hair like that.” I thanked her for the compliment but then I digested what she said. It is not the first time I have heard women talk of how their husbands or significant others do not like them to wear their natural hair texture; but this is the first time I really pondered the totality of that concept.

My first reaction was of distain for her husband and all other husbands out there who hate their woman’s natural hair texture; and then I dug a little deeper. I realized that like the husbands that hated their wives naturally textured hair, I too at one time hated my own hair. On the surface it didn’t appear that way. For years I straightened by hair religiously. Starting from age 12 when I got my first relaxer; to age 16 going natural but then relaxing again because I couldn’t get my hair straight enough; to age 24 deciding to go relaxer free but continuing to straighten my hair until I burned whatever trace of my natural texture that existed. I remember for years seeing women with naturally textured hair and thinking to myself “Oh that looks cute, but it is not for me.” How could I honestly look myself in the face and say that my God given hair texture was not for me? That was the hair that God so preciously picked out for me, along with my physique, my humor and the many other things that make me uniquely special. Yes, it sounds ridiculous when you put in that context, but it is true.

The issue much deeper than a particular hairstyle, was the fact that for a majority of my life I did not believe I was beautiful unless my hair was something else. I only believed I was beautiful if my hair was straight. Straight, flipped and curled looking like a mainstream model on the cover of some magazine. Those were the only times I believed in my own beauty, and that revelation was startling. It wasn’t until recently when I cut the last of my damaged hair off, and finally after many years saw my natural texture and I cried. I couldn’t believed that I tried so hard to stifle all this awesome hair, and that I was in fact beautiful just being me. This was not about a natural hair movement, main stream ideas of beauty or anything like that, it was about me and my identity. The ways I had subconsciously believed my beauty existed in one very narrow definition. I wept, because I realized for so long I tried to deny who I truly was.

I began to have compassion for that husband. I realized that maybe like me, he had this very narrow view of beauty and his view was based on the environment and culture that we live in. It wasn’t until I experienced the full circle moment for myself that I understood what it meant to hate myself.

This post is bigger then my hair it has to do with life. There are many narrow views of success, love and beauty that we define our lives by that challenge the very nature of who we are meant to be. Unless we endeavor to take a journey upon a road less traveled to redefine everything we think about ourselves, then and only then will we see who we truly are. Self hate is real, and it manifest itself in so many ways like never saving money and always struggling, to starting relationships with people who are destructive to staying at a dead end job because we don’t believe we deserve success. Our narrow view of what is good keeps us in a prison of self hate. Break free and redefine your life! You are special, unique and beautiful; there is no one on earth like you or was created to do that thing that you are here to do!

Have you overcome self hate? Is there something in your life you are struggling to love about yourself? Share your thoughts and comments below. 

Posted on March 4, 2014 and filed under My Blog.